The annual Staffordshire University Learning and Teaching Conference saw Carl take to the stage as the UK partner representative for Destiny last week.
The event is an opportunity for the University to show ways in which it’s moving forward to embrace digital technology and other ways of innovative learning. The Erasmus+ Destiny MOOC project is the latest digital technology project that the institution has become involved in so it was exciting for us to share this with the attendees.
Can Moocs combined with study clubs help bridge the transferrable skills gap reported by employers?
Carl presented the aim of the research to education staff and students at the event, introducing the project to those who will benefit most from its resources.
The talk discussed the challenges of the project – for example can open source MOOC’s provide solutions for the health and social care sector? Research findings from the project so far, such as the design success of the first mobile e-learning platform that was actually tested on nursing and midwifery students at the University, were also shared with the audience.
Carl pointed out that the future of the project would be a focus on improved virtual interaction for the mobile user. Mobile e-learning has been the focal point for Bitjam and Staffs University, as the main users are students with common access to mobile technology. A demand for fast communication and the ability to learn on the go are pivotal to the development of a student’s education in 2017.
Bitjam’s agile development and co-production working techniques fit perfectly with the requirements of this project as we were able to work efficiently and to a timescale that was in line with the international partners. If you would like to learn more about our innovative ways of working and how they might suit your own project, you can contact Carl here.
Part three of our co-production series discusses a successful case study where an agile development framework and co-production techniques were used within the healthcare sector to improve processes and minimise disruption when moving to new systems.
“Adopting SAFe has set in motion the skill development and mindset for successful organisational change even as we scale to new programs, release trains, and people”
– Gary Dawson, Assistant Director, Solutions Delivery.
The NHS Blood and Transplant department (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority service. They deliver blood supply and solid organs to to hospitals nationwide, which requires safeguarding, collecting, testing, processing and storage that contribute to saving countless lives each year. With an increased need for this service, NHSBT recognised that effective technology was crucial for delivering a safe service for patients. Replacing an ageing infrastructure, migrating to cloud-based technology and replacing critical operational applications was the goal. This required careful consideration with regards to choosing the most efficient way of working, since so many other agencies were interdependent on the current infrastructure and the transformation was of a complex nature.
Adopting a scaled agile framework would allow them to implement the required systematic changes with minimal impact on the existing culture.
- NHSBT needed to improve business processes and supporting IT environment, realigning infrastructure to cloud based technology
- The project would also evaluate current IT systems in line with organisational needs
- NHSBT were challenged to incorporate new technical platforms and architecture with minimal risk to management – the threat of effects on the culture of the organisation
- The teams involved worked collaboratively to introduce solutions and training so internal changes were manageable and everybody was working from the same page
- Introduced SAFe – Scaled Agile Framework: hands-on software delivery
- A two day workshop to managers explained SAFe
- Management were given definitive roles within SAFe
- Planning sessions were organised across the larger organisation to explain SAFe to all employees
- Developed and worked effectively as a team and projects delivered on time
- Early delivery of significant business benefits
- Skillset and mindset for successful organisational change
Bitjam recognise the ways in which these modern working methods are highly adaptable and efficient, and have been adopting them across many projects for some time now. One example of where we used co-production with a client to create a project that was delivered on time and to a high standard, was Logga – a system for communicating timetables, homework and student progress in collaboration with Sixth Form College. We ran a number of design workshops with the students and set up beta testing groups via Android and the Apple app store. Meeting with teachers and admin staff weekly also contributed to the success of the project, as regular progress was updated and we were all given the opportunity to “give and get”. Read our case study for more details here.
In summary, the adoption of co-production within an agile framework for working, when applied within the public sector has some proven powerful benefits for improving efficiency with the NHS. It’s encouraging to see that the healthcare sector are trying and testing new and better ways of working in order to ultimately improve the end experience for patients, whilst upholding a duty of care to NHS staff who are subject to a fast-paced and evolving environment and need extra support from management during projects and changing processes.
In the second part of our co-production series we take a look at Agile Development, another productivity tool that assists in changing the work based mindset and encouraging a more efficient approach to organisational development and changes.
The Shift From Sequential Processes to Agile Methodology
Agile methods encourage teams to build quickly, test what they’ve built and iterate their work based on regular feedback. It was introduced as a modern alternative to the traditional waterfall model.
The waterfall model is a sequential design process, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards. It was used in software development processes, through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production, implementation and maintenance. Because it was created in a time when no formal software development methodologies existed, this hardware-oriented model was simply adapted for software development
The agile process takes a different approach. Gathering requirements, planning, designing, building and testing are conducted simultaneously. Starting small in the discovery and alpha phases make way for growing the project into something large-scale.
- Productivity will improve as teams will quickly establish any challenges in certain areas of the project, since all elements are started together
- The focus on the end users contributes to speed, value and efficiency as the team continuously have the experience in mind
- Strong communication is required between stakeholders and business owners
- The business needs to be able to adapt to changes within internal processes with minimal disruption
Co-Production in Agile Software Development
To recap from our previous blog post, co-production creates a collaborative eco-system in which all parties receive a balanced “give and get”.Similarly to agile development, it contributes to service provisions, which can have both benefits and implications. Working with end users, for example clinicians, patients or carers who can contribute regular ideas and feedback from the very end of the UX can speed up process. Distribution of power to citizens means sharing of the decision making process could actually cause delays in project productiveness, as contributors may be unable to agree upon certain elements of the tasks.
The adoption of co-production within an agile framework has some powerful benefits, and is a great example of the changing mindset within the public sector. It also provides a morale boost for teams, as they are able to achieve their goals efficiently and effectively. This is why bitjam favour such working techniques, as everybody involved – from the teams to the end user – can enjoy better ways of working. In the last of our 3 part series on co-production, we’ll take a look at a case study within an NHS department that trialed co-production and scaled agile development, and the benefits and results they received.